Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Richard and Leona Bergstrom's "Third Calling"

I can speak from experience. Planning for your retirement is work. In fact, we’d been planning for several years before I actually retired from the 9-to-5 corporate life. The financial aspects are critical, and we gave that a considerable amount of focus, helped greatly by our financial advisor.

But, as I learned, there’s more than the financial considerations.

I thought I had planned what I would be doing on the other important things as well. I would be working as part of the online staff for The High Calling and Tweetspeak Poetry. I would be doing freelance and contract work. I would be writing. And we would spend a month on vacation in England.

Here, the record has so far been mixed. We did spend a month in England, and survived bad colds. My work with Tweetspeak Poetry continued, and still does. The High Calling shut down. Freelance work, particularly work with one firm, did a major trajectory upward earlier this year, and then did a major trajectory downward. I liked the work, but I also like getting paid for the work I do.

I wish I had had Richard and Leona Bergstrom’s Third Calling: What are you doing the rest of your life two years ago.

The Bergstroms lead a Christian ministry called Re-Ignite, a faith-based organization aimed squarely at the Baby Boom generation who want to serve God and make a difference in the world. Through retreats, seminars, consulting, coaching, and a blog, Re-Ignite helps Baby Boomers do exactly that.

The name “Third Calling” comes from the third of three stages of life. The first stage or calling is the young adult stage – launching a career, marriage, establishing a family. The second stage or calling is the years of middle age – peak career years, getting children through high school and into college. The third calling is the retirement period – empty nest (with adult children sometimes coming back hoe), career transformation, possibly caring for an aging parent.

It’s significant that the Bergstroms refer to these three periods as “callings,” because, for Christians, that’s what they are – the specific actions and activities God has called us to do. They focus on the third period; for many if not most of us, it can be just as confusing as the earlier callings.

Third Calling offers a step-by-step process for understanding what this period of life is about, and what you can be doing. Retirement may be an American cultural concept, but it is not a concept found in the Bible.

Leona and Richard Bergstrom
What you will find is a discussion about knowing your purpose, pursuing your dreams, understanding your values, exploring new worlds, and navigating both deep and shallow waters. Doing this is work – the book does include practical exercises, but they are not something that can be dashed off in a spare 20 minutes. This period of your life is just as important as the earlier ones, and just as much work is going to be involved.

And while it is written from a Christian perspective, it can be helpful to anyone embarking upon this third major period of life.

As I mentioned, I wish I had had Third Calling two years ago as part of my retirement planning. But I do have it now. And now comes the work – the welcome work.

Photograph by Kevin Phillips via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

1 comment:

Martha Jane Orlando said...

This sounds like a must-read for our generation. Thanks for enlightening us, Glynn!